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    Includes Expert Content
    Bichon Heart Murmur
    Jacksonwd posted:
    My 11.5 yo Bichon was diagnosed with a heart murmur 5 yrs ago. It was recently rated at a grade 3 level. He began coughing this month (Oct. 2013), but continues to enjoy his walks and playing fetch/tug of war with his thread bone. Admittedly, he doesn't play as long as he did a year ago. He had an x ray two months ago, with an ultrasound scheduled soon. His appetite and weight are fine. Mardi Gras is food motivated!!!!! Technically, he is 77 yo, which is pretty old. Oh yes, he takes a Cosequin Advanced Strength vitamin every day. If his health should take downward turn, I would consider his quality of life before administering various drugs to keep around for my happiness, not to mention the expense, when he is going to expire in the near future, anyway. Before the hairs on your neck rise, I take the same position for myself. My little guy lives a great life!!!!!
    Sandy Willis, DVM, DACVIM responded:
    Hello, Sounds like you have a great little dog. Many veterinarians have pets as well and we agree with the importance of quality of life. Our pets live much shorter than we do and we do not run tests, perform treatments that are going to prolong a poor quality of life. But if the tests identify problems that we can treat to keep our pets filling good, and acting well, why not pursue the problem? Most of us don't want to lose our pets to diseases that we could treat, and of course, rarely our costs not a consideration. So, if he is coughing and might have early heart disease, there are some medications that can slow progression of his heart disease and have him live a longer, good quality of life, more time than he would have had if you hadn't given him the tests, or medications. Thanks for giving your little guy a great life. Dr. Sandy W
    manydogz replied to Sandy Willis, DVM, DACVIM's response: didn't raise any hairs on my neck!!! There have been a few times in my life that I've had to make THAT decision and I always consider my dogs quality of life as well as the duration of any pain the dog may have. I once had an irish setter who broke his back. The vet told me it could be fixed but he would then have a life of pain even with the pain meds that were available at that time. He was a young dog but I had him put down rather than let him have a life of suffering just because I loved him and was going to miss him.

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